Arizona basketball: Turnover-free Brandon Williams shows mature game

Brandon Williams is Arizona's second-leading scorer early this season.Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Freshman guard has a stunning assist-to-turnvover ratio

The most impressive stat from the Arizona basketball team's 3-0 start has been the assist-to-turnover ratio of freshman guard Brandon Williams.

Williams, after Wednesday night's victory over UTEP, had 14 assists and no turnovers in 86 minutes of playing time.

That feels almost too good to be true.

It was.

Truth is, after some statistical adjustments Thursday, Williams' stat line is even better. Arizona coaches -- and David Kelly of FOX11/KOLD13 -- pointed out to the UA sports information office (OK, technically "Communications Services) that Williams had more than the one assist to his name in the initial box score against UTEP.

Upon further review, he was given three for the game to push his assist total to 16.

"Brandon Williams, for a freshman, for him to play in three games and not have a turnover ... you know, that's astonishing," said coach Sean Miller. "Because the way he plays isn't safe. He makes plays at the basket, he pushes the ball in transition and I think it says a lot about his intelligence as a player.

"He doesn't force things. He really allows things to present. He takes what the defense gives, and sometimes you don't see a guard get that until they're long gone from college. He almost has that right now. He's a big reason why we have been able to play with single-digit turnovers."

Arizona had only six turnovers vs. UTEP, a game after committing a mere seven against Cal Poly. The Wildcats played the second half of the season-opener against Houston Baptist with only two turnovers.

"Because we're playing more of four perimeter players, part of the benefits that we can get out of that is to not turn it over and have multiple ball-handlers on the court at one time," Miller said.

Back to Williams. He's starting as the 2-guard and also playing point guard at times when Justin Coleman goes to the bench. Williams (14.7 points per game) and sophomore wing Brandon Randolph (18.7 points) are the team's top scorers, each possessing a skill-set that can attack defenders off the dribble and create their own shots.

"I'm just trying to make the right play and taking what the defense gives," Williams said after the UTEP game. "Whether it's me scoring or me getting an assist. Not turning the ball over, that's pretty good."

Williams didn't shoot well in the first two games, but there hasn't been any panic or frustration in his game. He shot better against UTEP, hitting 6 of 12 from the field, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc, to tie Randolph for a game-high 21 points.

Through three games, Williams is 12 of 32 from the field, 4 of 12 from 3-point range. He's fine from the line, making 15 of 18 free throw attempts.

Arizona moves on to play in the Maui Invitational, starting Monday, against Iowa State.

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